Zay 1K


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By CORYANA SMITH, DAIJA JAMES and ZE’MIRAH HARRIS

It doesn’t happen every night — the mother of a Goldsboro High School basketball player walking to the middle of the floor during a first quarter timeout.

But nobody had a problem with La-Trina Bullock-Teachey doing just that during tonight’s varsity men’s game against Wallace-Rose Hill. For one thing, she is a former GHS basketball great. And more importantly, she was stepping onto the hardwood to honor Isaiah Wilder — the latest Cougar to reach the 1,000 career point milestone.

It was one GHS great and another — standing side by side as the young man lifted his 1,000-point ball above his head. And it was also a mother — gushing over her son’s feat with “1K” balloons in her hand.

“It makes me feel happy. He worked hard — real, real hard. He deserves it. That and much more,” La-Trina told the Pride. “I’m overwhelmed. I’m his biggest supporter. I’m just happy. Ecstatic, really. I only want the best for him.”

The school clown, the dunking machine, the beast on the court. And after tonight, a legend.

Knowing that the milestone was well within reach, we talked to Isaiah before the game and he said he feels really good about hitting 1,000.

“I never thought I would do anything like this, but it is happening,” he said. “I’ve been playing ball ever since I was 3 or 4. I have faced and overcome a lot of obstacles. I can’t believe it.”

His teammates — and Coach Croom — can.

GHS point guard Christian Bullock — who just so happens to be Isaiah’s cousin — told the Pride he feels “happy for him” and said “he definitely deserves it.”

“He worked hard for it and we’ve been playing together since the beginning, which was approximately 5 years old,” Christian said. “I always knew he could accomplish this because he’s a pure scorer.”

Croom agrees. His team, he told the Pride, is at its best when Isaiah goes off.

“I think the team, they are definitely happy for him. They understand that Isiah is a very important piece for this team,” he said. “They know that when he plays at his very best, we’re at our best.”

Best. That’s a word that seems synonymous with Isaiah. So when Croom reflected on his star forward’s latest achievement, he didn’t seem all that surprised by it. But he was in awe of it.

“It’s a big accomplishment. You know, there’s a lot of high school basketball players who don’t get the opportunity to accomplish something like this,” he told the Pride. “But a lot of players who suit up dream of doing something like that.”

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A battle worth fighting

By ZE’MIRAH HARRIS

I remember my grandmother’s smile — how she pushed up her glasses so they wouldn’t fall off her face as she stood at the stove and stirred her grits.

I remember the song she was singing — how the sound of “Take Me to the King” blended perfectly with the smell of bacon, sausage, eggs, and cheese.

I thought about that Saturday morning one day when I was riding in the car with my mother and a single tear rolled down my cheek. You see, I had just heard that the star of those memories had cancer cells growing in her breast. And even though my mother assured me that Phyllis Battle Harris would be OK, I was still scared.

My grandmother probably wasn’t. Every morning, she opens her eyes and says a prayer. She does the same thing every night. She is saved and has been for as long as I can remember. She knows what is waiting for her after this life.

She grew up right here in Goldsboro — the fifth of thirteen children; the oldest of the girls. She ended up giving birth to four of her own. Her last baby is my mother, Delavisha.

Grandma is known for her cooking skills, her dedication to the Lord, her role in the community, and her “You Touch My Heart” banquet — an annual event that brings together family members, friends, and others she cares about for a special evening of fellowship. And on “Grandma’s Day,” she takes all of us grandkids out to eat and dedicates that day to making us feel special.

But all of us almost lost those moments forever. Cancer could have ended them. So it’s no surprise that when we got the news of her diagnosis, it was a shock to us all. Still, we hoped she would continue to prove herself to be a fighter — like she did after multiple surgeries and the installation of a defibrillator to help keep her heart beating.

That smile I remember turns into a face of sadness, but not for the reason you think. She isn’t worried about herself. That’s never been her way. The frown she is wearing is because of her family’s worries for her. She saw how hard we took it and was saddened because she didn’t want us to be upset.

My aunt, Shetula Easterling, was one of those hit the hardest by the news.

“I was shocked,” she said. “No one saw this coming. My brothers and sister always made sure she was fine and in perfect health, so when this news came out of the blue, I didn’t know how to react.”

She reacted by moving from South Carolina to Goldsboro to help take care of her mother. The truth is, all of us do what we can, but the chemotherapy has side effects that we weren’t ready for. The swelling, stomach pains, vomiting, and mood swings are hard to see, but our family will remain by her side. We’ll never stop fighting with her because nobody could ever replace her.

So when I show up to the Pink Out event at Goldsboro High School tomorrow night, this time, it will have a new meaning. I’ve worn my pink here and there for breast cancer, but now, knowing that I still get to see my grandmother every day is a blessing. Whether she’s happy, sad, angry, or even upset or in pain, I’m glad I get to see her. I love my grandma with all my heart and I pray she gets better with each passing day.

Raising money for cancer research helps — not just my grandma, but all of those who are battling this terrible disease. And tomorrow, at 5 p.m. in the GHS gym, our basketball games against Wallace-Rose Hill will, in part, be a tribute to all those who have fought and those, like my grandma, who are still fighting.

During last year’s “Play 4 Kay” event, the school raised $500. This year, with your help, we’ll raise even more. There will be raffles and T-shirt sales. And in the stands will be a community of people who have likely been touched by cancer themselves. 

So come fight alongside us. And don’t forget to wear pink. I’ll be wearing mine. For the woman who sings in praise of her Lord. For the woman who fills the house with the scents of a perfect breakfast. For the woman who taught me to be a fighter. Always.

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T’Ziah 1K

By DAIJA JAMES, TANIJA MILLER, KHEIRSTUN TURNAGE, CORYANA SMITH and PROPHET DEVAUGHN

T’Ziah Kelly’s team was still trailing after she drove to the basket and sunk a one-handed floater.

It was only the first quarter of a conference game against Midway that, as of press time, hadn’t even reached halftime yet.

But listening to the crowd’s reaction — a sustained roar that hasn’t been matched inside the Goldsboro High School gymnasium so far this season — you would think the shot clinched a championship.

And the truth is, as far as individual achievements go, it was just about as close as any Lady Cougar in recent memory has come to cutting down the nets.

With that basket, T’Ziah, the Cougars’ star shooting guard, hit 1,000 career points. And when, moments later, an official timeout gave the crowd a chance to honor the Lady Cougars’ floor general, those who showed up to watch a milestone reached responded.

 

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So who is T’Ziah Kelly?

Those who know her say she’s a hard-working student, fierce friend, and the undisputed leader of one of the greatest GHS women’s basketball teams of all time. For those reasons, nobody is surprised that she just accomplished the rare feat of surpassing 1,000 career points.

Head coach and former GHS Lady Cougar Latina Bullock told the Pride that T’Ziah’s leadership makes her special, but that her attitude both on and off the court — she never complains, doesn’t place blame on others when things don’t go her way, and she is always there for her teammates — is what makes her an all-time great.

“(Because of) the leadership she has shown the last three years, I continue to expect great things out of her,” Coach Bullock said.

Assistant coach and GHS history teacher Stephanie Orosco agrees.

“I’m impressed with her efforts — especially her balancing out her athletic and academic standing,” she told the Pride. “I’m very emotional about this being her last year, and I have many reasons why.”

One reason is because the bond between this coach and student has become more than a classroom or on-the-court relationship. Ms. Orosco considers T’Ziah family.

“I most definitely look at her as a daughter figure,” she said. “We have a great bond. I’ve taught her for almost three years and she comes in here every day, she gets on my nerves, she runs my copies. We just have have an incredible bond, and hopefully when she graduates, I can still be there for her just like she was my own kid.”

Another “family” member is fellow senior McKayla Roberts. She nearly cried when she was asked about her teammate’s achievement.

“T’Ziah really has been playing sports with me since seventh grade. Now she’s getting this great award for something she worked really hard for,” McKayla told the Pride. “(In) three years … she got 1,000 points. You can’t name too many people that have accomplished this. Not only is she a great athlete, but a great person in real life. Congrats T’Ziah. You deserve it.”

The truth is, many of us who have come to know T’Ziah see her as family. But her actual family — her blood — have the same pride in what she has accomplished as an elite student-athlete.

“I knew she was capable of it all, but to actually witness it is outstanding,” her mother told the Pride. 

And one more person weighed in, too — the person we interviewed who has known T’Ziah for the least amount of time.

Principal Christopher Horne is new to GHS, but not to the game of basketball. He knows what it takes to surpass the 1,000-point milestone on the hardwoods — having done so himself as a high school student before most of us were born. So we talked to him in his office — where his own commemorative basketball is on display — just hours before tonight’s game about the type of work ethic needed to accomplish something so rare.

We didn’t want to jinx T’Ziah, but with only six points needed to reach her milestone, we knew it was all but certain it would happen for her tonight.

“You’ve heard the phrase, ‘Hard work pays off,’ and I mean, honestly, I learned how to play basketball in the summer of my sixth-grade year and I was probably the worst tallest player you’ve ever seen,” he told the Pride. “But from that moment on, I just really wanted to be a good basketball player. I wanted to go the (NBA) like most people do, so I worked tireless every day to get there.”

He didn’t make it to the League, but the man could score the ball. And when he reflected on breaking 1,000 career points, all those hours in the gym came back to him.

“That was a nice milestone. To be honest, my goal was to be the all-time leading scorer of my school, and I also achieved that goal. I end up scoring 1,606 points for my career, so when you set high goals, sometimes you exceed goals … but you’re still pressing towards a higher mark.”

Just like T’Ziah.

“I think it’s going be a really special moment for T’Ziah and I know she worked extremely hard and endured things on and off the court,” Horne told the Pride. “So I’m just really happy for her and the team and Coach Bullock and the Cougar family. I think it’s going to be a great moment for us. One the best of the year.”

Cougars win Science Fair

Story By PROPHET DEVAUGHN and DAIJA JAMES; Photos by JADE KING and ASHLEY SMITH

They might have been down a teammate, but Goldsboro High School students Jyrei Thompson and Keturah Artis found a way to emerge victorious at the Wayne County Public Schools Science Fair Saturday.

Their project? Corn paper — an undertaking that started when their teacher told them to turn corn into a blue ribbon.

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So how did they make it happen? It started with two pounds of corn husks and sodium hydrate, which, after being mixed and boiled for two hours in a stainless steel pot, were blended into a pulp. That pulp was then put into a mold and shaken to get rid of the excess moisture.

Sure, the finished product impressed the judges, but they weren’t the only ones blown away by the students’ effort. GHS principal Christopher Horne said the victory was another example of Cougars changing the narrative about our school.

He praised the science department — particularly Mrs. Velasco and Mr. Almerino — for representing GHS with passion and motivating students to be the very best they can be. And he beamed with pride during a post-victory photo session and praised his students for setting such a high standard and earning a spot in the S.T.E.M. Fair this March at the Maxwell Center.

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The first place ribbon was not the only prize taken by the Cougars Saturday.

Guervens Joseph, Malachi Johnson, Ty’Khira Franklin and Joeshon Artis walked away with a second-place finish for “Grass Oils” — a project that offered a solution to a world that will, one day, run out of natural resources.

This story will be updated with quotes Monday.

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The band is back together

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By ZE’MIRAH HARRIS

Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Clack. Clack. Crash. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Crash.

The drum major twirls his mace and brings his whistle to his lips.

The dancers start their eight-count.

The flag girls swing their hips.

And then, Band Director Kenneth Northcutt gives them the signal.

Tweee-eeet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.

Hundreds of Goldsboro High School students, staff members, and alumni bend their necks. They have been waiting for this moment for years. And when the percussionists sound off their thuds, clacks, pows and crashes, it happens.

Dancing. Screaming. Arms in the air. The horns and drums might now be moving underneath the bleachers, but they echo across the football field and vibrate the metal benches above.

The GHS Marching Band is back.

Hundreds of eyes were fixated on the football field during halftime of the Homecoming game a few weeks ago. The court — and the crown — were important, but it was the band, dance team, and flag girls that brought the house down.

For Northcutt, it marked the culmination of more than a year of work.

“It is a challenge, but it is also rewarding because the kids finally get to get something that they’ve been wanting for years,” he told the Pride. “They want something they can be proud to be a part of and to help rebuild and to create their own legacy for themselves. That first performance, they basically came together as a full marching unit in a week.”

Horn Line leader Jamilyon Waters agrees and said he was humbled to be given command of his section and was proud that his “hard work from last year and other years of band has paid off.”

And that is what Northcutt is most proud of. Sure, bringing the band back to GHS is a badge of honor. But it is teaching his students about the value of hard work and perseverance that means the most.

The students understand it, too. They put in long hours after school and their work can be heard across Goldsboro after the sun goes down. But being pushed by Northcutt has given them a respect and love for him that showed when they talked to the Pride about how much their teacher means to them.

Want proof? Come out to the final home football game of the season Friday and watch the way the students and their instructor interact with one another. Then, listen and enjoy. And when your hips start moving and your head starts rocking back and forth, you will understand that for this band, 2018 is only the beginning.

“Being the band director is what keeps me getting up every morning,” Northcutt said. “And I know no matter what, my students are always going to be excited to see me and are always ready for the next day.”

And you better believe they will be ready Friday. Will you?

Curtain’s up

By ELLIYAH BUTLER, ASYAH THOMAS and SHAYLA GREENE

The Goldsboro High School choral program has been in incredible hands so far this year, as Victoria Ruffin-Atkins made her triumphant return to the Cougar family. From the county fair to pre-football game pep rallies, her students have been shining – and the public is taking notice.

After their first-place finish at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair, Mrs. Ruffin-Atkins talked to the Pride and said she felt the students were “well-deserving of their placement and that they exceeded my expectations.”

One of those students, Tanasha Hall, agreed.

“I was really excited because all of our hard work paid off,” she said, but added that she wished the team could have been challenged to bring out their best. “I was disappointed that we didn’t have a competition. I feel like weren’t really challenged. Maybe we would’ve been better if we would’ve gone against someone.”

Her teacher echoed those sentiments.

“Although I doubt anyone would have defeated the Show Stoppers, I wish they would’ve had some type of competition so they could’ve really felt that flame a little more.”

But make no mistake. Competition or not, the Show Stoppers will be feeling that flame tonight when the public will be treated – for free – to the group’s latest performance at 6:30 p.m. in the GHS auditorium. The Pride will be there covering the event. Join us!

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Historic Homecoming

The Goldsboro High School football team lost to conference rival Clinton, but there was plenty to celebrate tonight.

A king and queen were crowned.

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The GHS Marching Band officially made its comeback.

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And … we have a MASCOT.

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So try not to hang your heads about another football loss. The Cougar Family has plenty to be celebrating tonight.

Victoria says: “Crown ’em”

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We went back in time, found our twin, and got wacky.

You’ve eaten all the candy. And the Takis. And the donuts.

Now, it’s time to cast a vote for your favorite Princess, Prince, King, and Queen.

Click the link. Make your picks. Winners will be announced Friday. Good luck to all those who made the list:

http://www.waynecountyschools.org/2018HomecomingVoting.aspx

Superheros, Football and Royalty

By ASYAH THOMAS

Get ready.

It’s time to pass down the crown.

That’s right. Homecoming is here.

Friday night, based on your votes, Goldsboro High School will announce its new king and queen during halftime of the Clinton game.

But we have several days of craziness to get through before that happens.

Yep. Spirit Week starts Monday.

Tomorrow, on “Throwback Day,” you can dress up like anyone from any era — the 70s, 80s, Roaring 20s, etc. Tuesday, you’ll be seeing double, on “Twin/Triplet Day.”

Things will get out of control Wednesday, as we continue the age-old tradition of “Wacky Tacky Day” — when people show up in the weirdest, most over-the-top outfits ever. And Thursday, on “Cartoon/Superhero Day”, Superman, Wonder Woman, and maybe even Slenderman, will be walking the halls.

Class battles will close out the week as on Friday, “Class Color Day” will see us wear our respective class colors and compete in field events ahead of the Pep Rally.

Then, we’ll be ready to take on Clinton, hoping to end a two-game football losing streak that saw the Cougars barely fall to James Kenan and East Duplin.

But wait! We saved the best for last.

For the first time in recent memory, the Homecoming Dance is back!

For five dollars, or fifteen Cougar Cash, students can dance their Saturday night away. We wondered what brought about the decision to have a have a dance after so long, so we asked Homecoming guru Mrs. Burnetta Barnes.

She told the Pride that, “A lot of schools had dances for homecoming. Goldsboro did, too, at one point, but  we stopped for some reason. We thought it’d be a great idea to bring it back for the student body.”

After a little more research, we found out that the idea actually came from chorus teacher Mrs. Victoria Ruffin Atkins.

She told the Pride that the idea was part of the school’s attempt to continue to “change the narrative.”

“I recommended the dance because a lot of students tell me that high school was boring for them,” she said. “There are no dances and nothing for them to get excited about. Homecoming is just the beginning of a new day. Hopefully the Cougar Parliament and I, along with the SGA, will be able to put on more dances and have more events here at the school.”

The dance will be from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, October 13, so be sure to come show your Cougar pride! And if you’re not a student and are just planning on coming out to the game, be ready. There are other surprises lurking that will make you proud to be a member of the Cougar Family.

Positive reinforcement

By TATIANA EASON, KYLA GREENFIELD and CHRISTINA RICHARDSON

Starting Tuesday, Goldsboro High School students will have another reason to do well in class, show respect to teachers and peers, and be good sports during athletic competitions. The “Cougar Cash” initiative, a creation of Media Center Coordinator Katie Kimble Johnson, will arm teachers, administrators, and staff with fake money that can buy students very real prizes if they are caught doing the right thing.

Normally, people only focus on the students that do what’s wrong, Mrs. Kimble Johnson said. But starting tomorrow, those responsible for handing out the “cash” will have a new outlook.

“We want to reward students who constantly do good in their classes and are doing what they are supposed to do,” she said. “We wanted to create something more positive that highlights the students that are doing the right thing.”

The cash can be used to buy everything from snacks to an extra gym period, but the big prizes — like Beats headphones and gift cards — will be won through a raffle held at the end of the semester. So while students who want to use their cash more quickly can get a fast bag of chips, those who choose to save their money can win big.

In fact, learning the value of saving money is part of the reason the program was created. The Media Center will also serve as a “bank” where students can deposit their Cougar Cash using deposit slips, Mrs. Kimble Johnson said. That process will help teach us how to use a bank account for when we graduate and move on into the real world.

To get students excited about the program, those who earn Cougar Cash this week can buy raffle tickets with their money to be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card. Not a bad deal for doing the right thing.

So put away those cellphones and take your earbuds out. Focus in class and help your friends when they need someone to lean on. You never know who’s watching. And if you’re lucky, you might just have a new pair of Beats around your neck before Christmas break or a gift card in your pocket.

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